With COVID-19 pandemic swiping the nation, gathering bans are being enforced to help limit the spread. But how can church functions still happen when boards, committees, and groups can’t meet? Through the use of video conferencing! Using different methods of communication provides support and care to our congregations.
There are several different video conferencing services available. Each having its pros and cons for different situations. There are two services that we think can benefit churches the most, due to their ease of use.
Zoom has both free and paid options. The free option allows for meetings of up to 100 participants for 40 minutes. The Pro option increases the time restriction to 24 hours for up to 100 participants. Both the free and Pro services provide screen sharing, breakout rooms, and video recording. However, with the Pro version, you have the ability to poll participants, save the recording to the cloud, and advanced admin controls. The Zoom platform would be a good fit for board meetings, small groups, and bible studies, and additionally could be used to livestream church services for smaller congregations. For more resources on how to use Zoom, click here.
This service is connected to G Suite (Google). If churches have a G Suite account for their email, they can easily use Google Hangouts. G Suite basic plan starts at $6 per user and includes Google Hangouts, Drive, and other Google services. Google Hangouts allows for 25 video participants with no time restriction. Using Hangouts Meet is perfect for quick interactions between staff and lay leaders when emailing can be too much. While Hangouts is not as elaborate as Zoom, it offers some of the same features such as chat, sreensharing, and call recording.
Other video conferencing services:
Online gatherings have the potential to engage people in new ways and to reach new audiences with God’s word. God is present and working in our gatherings, both physically and virtually. Amen.